Sarazanmai Premiere: Episode 1 Review

Title: Sarazanmai
Length: 11 x 24 minute episodes
Genre: Your guess is as good as mine
Year of release: 2019

Kunihiko Ikuhara returning to main direction is simply an event, and this premiere is 24 minutes of why. Sarazanmai’s premiere had me crying with laughter, and not five minutes later, gasping with shock, and that’s to say nothing of the poignant and empathetic pangs throughout. Kappazon.jp, the meaning of carrying boxes around and the entire kappa sequence are an abundance of ideas that speak to the cerebral side in a way that few anime do, and then goes a step further to touch in deep and personal ways. I don’t want to spoil anything, because the utterly insane, poignant euphemism of Sarazanmai is best left to speak for itself.

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But I will say that this is not just one of the most visually creative anime of the season, but also one of the most well crafted (and will definitely be discussed as such at the year’s end). Ikuhara himself is one of the most skilled storyboarders in the industry, and has recruited an exceptionally talented group of merrymen and women to join him for this exciting adventure. In terms of sheer animation, no compromises were felt throughout any of the episode as it went bigger, and bigger and bigger and bigger still. Sarazanmai’s colours are so bright and beautiful, and build something truly beautiful to look at. Even dynamic camera sequences, while trippy, are clear and punctuated. 

Beyond that, it is known that Sarazanmai is only going to be 11 episodes. Ridiculousness, especially of this type that is fond of repetition, is is time consuming, and I do wonder how much storytelling – actual storytelling, that is, and not just cinematographically symbolic outsourcing of storytelling – Sarazanmai will be able to give. Thus far, there are 3 characters. 1 of which, Enta is tightly linked to another of the 3, Kazuki. Kazuki and the agitable one of the main trio (and my favourite), Toi seem to be interlinked to individual, deep storylines. Even assuming that Enta’s arc can be concluded tightly, I fear that 11 episodes may cause some compromises. Especially as the post-credits seems to allude to 2 more characters, as well as a lot more questions for the entire system.

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It goes without saying that Sarazanmai feels like history in the making. Watching this storyline unfold live is going to feel special, even if it won’t make a shred of sense until the finale – and it is absolutely impossible to tell if that will shed any light onto what the hell is going on. You’re going to need to watch this again, but few anime can make you want to do that, and what’s more, few anime have as much under the surface.

Rating: 5/5

Back to Spring 2019 Premiere Reports

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